Tips for Avoiding July 4 Travel Fraud

As the Independence Day travel season officially gets underway, security experts are warning Americans to be on the lookout for scams.

Last year, a record 46.9 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more for the holiday, a figure which is expected to increase this year, according to the fraud prevention company Forter.

With that in mind, Forter recently conducted its 6th Fraud Attack Index study. The results showed that fraudsters are capitalizing on Americans’ summer travel plans in a big way. Highlights of the research include:

— Land travel (car rentals, train services) and accommodation (hotels) have witnessed a 19 percent increase in fraud attack rates over the past year

— Major airlines are attacked by fraud 37 percent more than low cost, smaller airlines

Forter CEO Michael Reitblat offered a variety of tips for travelers hoping to stay safe from such summer scams below. Here’s what he had to say.

Book Your Trip Safely

Secure travel starts with secure booking, said Reitblat.

“Begin by making sure you’re working with a reputable online company and if you’ve never heard of the website you’re about to book through, do some research to see how long it’s been around,” said Reitblat. “If it just popped up a few weeks ago, don’t book your travel through it.”

When Booking Travel Online, Check for Encryption

All legitimate e-commerce sites should be using encryption, which protects your credit card number and other data by scrambling it in transit, said Reitblat.

“An easy way to check if the website is encrypted is by looking for a lock symbol in the site’s URL,” he said.

Be Wary of Too Good to Be True Travel Deals

Don’t fall for super-cheap, last-minute travel deals, and think twice before handing over information from your travel documents.

“While most people would question a request from an online shoe store for a copy of a passport, they might not hesitate when booking a flight,” Reitblat said.

Protect Your Travel Points and Miles

Pay just as much attention to securing your travel points and loyalty program rewards as you would your credit card information.

“These loyalty programs contain your sensitive information like email, phone, credit card numbers and more,” said Reitblat.

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